I’ve advocated the use of Magic articles several times in the past. Really, the games are very similar in that many of the concepts stay the same. They’ve just had an extra 10 years or so to get everything down a little better than we have. I took the reading of Magic articles a bit further and just finished reading Magic Pro Patrick Chapin’s book, Next Level Magic. Today I want to talk about a concept in his book that I found particularly relevant to Yu-Gi-Oh that might otherwise have never been known to our community. This concept is known as the four perspectives. These four perspectives are top down thinking, bottom up thinking, front back thinking, and back forward thinking. For this article I’m going to take the four perspectives and apply them to the following situation.
You are playing Wind-Ups and your opponent is playing the new Atlantean Mermail deck. You start the game with Wind-Up Factory, Wind-Up Rabbit, and Wind-Up Magician. Assume for this exercise that your other three cards are not relevant. You win the roll and start the game by playing Wind-Up Factory and summoning Wind-Up Rabbit. You enter your end phase and remove Wind-Up Rabbit to search for Wind-Up Shark. Your opponent summons Genex Undine and sends Atlantean Heavy Infantry to the graveyard to destroy your Wind-Up Factory. They attack for 1200, set 1 card, and end their turn.
Top Down Thinking – Looking at what is there
The first of the four perspectives is top down thinking and that is simply looking at what is there. You know that your opponent is playing Atlanteans. You know that this deck is capable of playing a fair amount of hand traps and at the very least 2 Tragoedia are staple. It is also likely that they play Gorz and would not be surprising if they were to play Effect Veiler or Maxx “C.” You also know that they are heavily reliant on monster effects. You know that these monster effects can put lots of damage on the field, destroy face up cards, destroy face down cards, or search for other powerful cards. You also know that it is likely that their trap card is Abyss-Sphere.
Bottom Up Thinking – Looking at what is not there
The second of the four perspectives is looking at what is not there. Most notably in this matchup, you would want to identify that it is unlikely that they are playing any trap cards with the exception of Abyss-Sphere. This is important as it allows you to play accordingly. For instance, we know that Shock Master would be very powerful against them if we were to call monster effects. If we did not take the time to realize that their set card was likely Abyss-Sphere and did not go for it based on the fact that we know Torrential Tribute is a commonly played card in the meta, we wouldn’t be in a game winning position. Identifying that it is unlikely that they play Torrential allows us to make our play at will.
We also want to identify that it is unlikely that they have a Heavy Infantry in their hand as they likely only play 2 and they sent 1 of them with Undine first turn.
Back Forward Thinking – Starting at the end and working our way back
In Chapin’s book, he puts front back thinking before back forward thinking, however I think that for this example it is more practical to start with back forward thinking. Back forward thinking involves identifying your end goal, what you are trying to do, and working your way backwards one logical step at a time.
Earlier we said that Shock Master calling monster effects was going to be extremely effective against them. This is certainly true, but we’ve identified that there set is probably Abyss-Sphere. This means that if we were to simply make Shock Master and call monster effects they could play Abyss-Sphere and get Abyssmegalo and attack over Shock Master. What if we could make Shock Master and pump it with Giga-Brilliant? Then they could not attack over it with Megalo and they would only have 2 outs in their deck, Dark Hole and Infantry. Infantry would be an out because they could Sphere into Pike when we made Shock Master and pay the cost by discarding Infantry to destroy Shock Master. Infantry would only be an out to this play if it were in their 5 cards in hand currently (1 of which is Controller). It would be significantly less effective if they were to draw Infantry as their next card. This just leaves Dark Hole that would absolutely destroy a Giga-Brilliant and Shock Master play, but that’s just 1 card. This severely limits their outs whereas if we didn’t make this play they would have significantly more outs.
Also we should consider the fact that if we can make a generic rank 3, we can make Zenmaity and then a rank 3. This means that our end goal should be Zenmaity, Giga-Brilliant, and Shock Master.
We can use back forward thinking to see that Rat getting back a Wind-Up would be the step before making Giga-Brilliant. And the step before that would have been summoning Zenmaity. The step before that would be two level 3s on the field. The step before Shock Master would be 3 level 4s on the field.
Front Back Thinking – Starting at the beginning and moving to the next logic point
The last of the four perspectives is starting at the beginning and moving to the next logical step to get to our ending point. The beginning for us is a Wind-Up Rabbit on the field, with Magician and Shark in hand and our goal being to get to Zenmaity, Giga-Brilliant, and Shock Master. We should start by summoning Magician, specialing Shark, triggering Magician, getting another Magician. Then we should make Shark a level 3 and trigger the second Magician to get a second shark. Now we have 2 level 3s and 3 level 4s, exactly what we needed. Next we make Shock Master with the three level 4s. Then we make Zenmaity with the two level 3s. Then we detach and get Rat and make Giga-Brilliant. Then we have successfully done what we set out to do.
I’m glad I could share Chapin’s ideas with the Yu-Gi-Oh community. I hope that you can see the application of the four perspectives in every aspect of the game, not just actual gameplay. Understand that this was only one example of the four perspectives and take the concepts highlighted and apply them in other areas. I highly recommend reading Patrick Chapin’s book Next Level Magic. I have learned tons about Yu-Gi-Oh from his book and hope that you will do the same. Until next time, play hard or go home!